Amazon, Apple Top Corporate Reputation Survey; Microsoft Drops to No. 15
Microsoft has fallen off the top 10 of Harris Interactive's annual survey measuring the reputations of the most visible companies in the United States, while Amazon.com, Apple and Google are among the top five.
Harris Interactive measures the reputations of major companies using its "reputation quotient" (RQ) metric. For this year's survey (PDF), the research firm asked over 14,000 consumers to rate their perceptions of the 60 most prominent companies in the United States based on six categories: Vision and Leadership, Financial Performance, Workplace Environment, Products and Services, Emotional Appeal, and Social Responsibility. An RQ over 80 (in a scale of 1 to 100) is considered excellent; an RQ below 50 is considered poor.
This year, online retail giant and cloud services provider Amazon.com ranked No. 1 with an RQ of 82.62, improving on last year's No. 4 standing. Survey respondents ranked Amazon.com first in the categories of Products and Services and Emotional Appeal. It also ranked second in the category of Vision and Leadership, third in the category of Financial Performance, and fifth in the category of Workplace Environment.
Last year's top company, Apple, fell to No. 2 this year with an RQ of 82.54. Consumers ranked Apple first in the categories of Vision and Leadership and Financial Performance, second in the category of Products and Services, and third in the category of Workplace Environment.
In the No. 4 spot is Google, falling from its No. 2 position last year, with an RQ of 81.32. Google ranked first among consumers in the category of Workplace Environment. It also ranked fourth in the categories of Products and Services and Vision and Leadership, and fifth in the categories of Social Responsibility and Financial Performance.
Interestingly, both Apple and Google fared relatively poorly in a recent study by the Ponemon Institute that measured consumers' perceptions about how well companies protect their privacy. The two companies missed the top 20 in that study, while Hewlett-Packard, Amazon.com and IBM ranked among the top 5.
For its part, Microsoft fell from its No. 9 perch in last year's Harris Interactive survey to No. 15 this year, earning an RQ of 76.46 (within the "very good" range).
Overall, survey respondents viewed the technology sector very favorably. It is the best-rated industry, with 79 percent of its total ratings being positive -- an improvement over last year's 76 percent and 2011's 75 percent. However, half of the companies that had the biggest declines in RQ between 2013 and 2012 were technology companies, according to Harris Interactive.
Following are the technology companies ranked in Harris Interactive's 2013 survey and their RQs:
1. Amazon.com (82.62)
2. Apple (82.54)
4. Google (81.32)
15. Microsoft (76.46)
26. Dell (73.05)
28. IBM (72.21)
34. Hewlett-Packard (70.01)
42. Facebook (65.63)